Thursday, April 15, 2010

String theory

I was casting about for a bit of string this morning - in an attempt to make a pencil stay in one place for more than two minutes - and realised I had not a scrap in the house. No string! What kind of a man has no string?

My father would have been ashamed of me. He was a man who always had serious string. I’m not talking about the cheapo kind that you’d tie up a parcel with, the rough white hairy stuff that you could buy in any Post Office. No, I’m talking about brown string. Proper bees-waxed twine. The kind that sailors used to mend their sails with, the kind that would cut through your fingers like cheese-wire before it would ever break.

Waxed twine came on a tightly spooled drum, a solid object, full of purpose and possibilities. Here lay the cocooned beginnings of a hundred kites, a thousand bows and arrows, a million conker fights. Here was a thread from which you could suspend your life.

Yes, for a man currently in possession of no string, I’m a big fan of the stuff.

I like rope, too, particularly proper brown rope, made of hemp. Playground rope. Girls used it for skipping games – those endlessly inventive songs and rhymes and routines that have now vanished from break-time culture. But although I can recall the warm touch of natural hemp rope, winding it round my fingers to get a good satisfying grip, I can’t remember what we boys used it for. I think maybe we just tied a knot in the end and hit each other with it. That’d be about right.

Maybe that was it: boys were creative and inventive with string, girls ditto with rope.

Anyway, I wish I had some right now. A length of rope or a decent bit of string would improve my life no end, and probably everyone else's too. That’s my theory.


loopyjuice said...

Albert Pierrepoint may have the answer to your hang up

Steve Augarde said...

Yes indeed. I actually know how to tie a hangman's knot - very similar to the fisherman's technique of 'whipping'. Such things can come in handy.

Look out for a sign on my door that either says 'Gone fishing' or 'Decided to end it all'.

loopyjuice said...

If it's the latter! Can I have your refurb guitar. Plus some extra string ------- s